California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday issued an executive order for the US state to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% under 1990 levels by 2030 to help meet a mid-century aim of an 80% reduction.
California is on track to meet its 2020 goal to cut emissions to 1990 levels by deploying dozens of measures under its AB32 climate law including the state’s cap-and-trade programme.
“With this order, California sets a very high bar for itself and other states and nations, but it’s one that must be reached – for this generation and generations to come,” said Brown in a speech at the Navigating the American Carbon World conference in Los Angeles.
He added that the goal would set the stage for the important work being done on climate change by the state’s legislature, and would lead to the most aggressive benchmark for any government in North America.
“Four consecutive years of exceptional drought has brought home the harsh reality of rising global temperatures to the communities and businesses of California. There can be no substitute for aggressive national targets to reduce harmful greenhouse emissions, but the decision today by Governor Brown … is an example of climate leadership that others must follow,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, who was among several international figures quoted in a statement put out by the Governor’s office ahead of the announcement.
“Both California and the EU have set the same 2030 reduction targets – 40% below 1990 levels. However, California’s emissions are currently higher than 1990, while Europe’s are lower – so Californians will need to work harder to meet the 2030 target, which we estimate will be in the region of 259 million tonnes (44% below the 2012 levels),” said Ashley Lawson, a senior carbon analyst with Thomson Reuters.
The EU’s emissions were 19.2% below 1990 levels in 2012, almost halfway towards its 2030 target.
A report earlier this month by environmental think tank Energy Innovation recommended a -40% 2030 target for California, which it said could be done by holding in place annually decreasing emission reduction caps in the state’s cap-and-trade programme and keeping current rules for its cost containment reserve.
That report found that by 2030, prices for the cost containment reserve would be $93-116 and the auction reserve price $25, before inflation, if current rules were extended. That’s up from current levels of $45.20-56.51 and $12.10 respectively.
The executive order also specifically addresses the need for climate adaptation and directs state government to:
– Incorporate climate change impacts into the state’s five-year infrastructure plan;
– Update the Safeguarding California Plan – the state’s climate change adaption strategy – to identify how climate change will affect California infrastructure and industry and what actions the state can take to reduce the associated risks;
– Factor climate change into state agencies’ planning and investment decisions
– Implement measures under existing agency and departmental authority to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The California Air Resources Board specifically will over the next year map out exactly how the 2030 target will be met.
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org